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Radiography After Cervical Spine Injury - Point-of-Care Guides
ABSTRACT: For many years, there were no guidelines for evaluating patients with chronic neck pain. However, in the past 15 years, considerable research has led to recommendations regarding whiplash-associated disorders. This article summarizes the American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria for chronic neck pain. Imaging plays an important role in evaluating patients with chronic neck pain. Five radiographic views (anteroposterior, lateral, open-mouth, and both oblique views) are recommended for all patients with chronic neck pain with or without a history of trauma. Magnetic resonance imaging should be performed in patients with chronic neurologic signs or symptoms, regardless of radiographic findings. The role of magnetic resonance imaging in evaluating ligamentous and membranous abnormalities in persons with whiplash-associated disorders is controversial. If there is a contraindication to magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography myelography is recommended. Patients with normal radiographic findings and no neurologic signs or symptoms, or patients with radiographic evidence of spondylosis and no neurologic findings, need no further imaging studies.
ABSTRACT: Significant cervical spine injury is very unlikely in a case of trauma if the patient has normal mental status (including no drug or alcohol use) and no neck pain, no tenderness on neck palpation, no neurologic signs or symptoms referable to the neck (such as numbness or weakness in the extremities), no other distracting injury and no history of loss of consciousness. Views required to radiographically exclude a cervical spine fracture include a posteroanterior view, a lateral view and an odontoid view. The lateral view must include all seven cervical vertebrae as well as the C7-T1 interspace, allowing visualization of the alignment of C7 and T1. The most common reason for a missed cervical spine injury is a cervical spine radiographic series that is technically inadequate. The "SCIWORA" syndrome (spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality) is common in children. Once an injury to the spinal cord is diagnosed, methylprednisolone should be administered as soon as possible in an attempt to limit neurologic injury.
ABSTRACT: Family physicians need to understand diagnostic and treatment strategies for common causes of shoulder pain. We review key elements of the history and physical examination and describe maneuvers that can be used to reach an appropriate diagnosis. Examination of the shoulder should include inspection, palpation, evaluation of range of motion and provocative testing. In addition, a thorough sensorimotor examination of the upper extremity should be performed, and the neck and elbow should be evaluated.